A mother who is desperately trying to save cattle on her property in north-west Queensland following the recent weather has shared a moving letter her children gave to her this week.
Jaye Hall is currently at one of her family’s properties, about 200 kilometres east of Mount Isa, where they have 45,000 acres, and says they have lost about 50 per cent of their stud cattle there.
The mother-of-two said it is “so boggy” after about nine days of “solid rain, freezing cold weather, and huge winds.”
“We had like 800 stud cows, there are hardly any little calves left,” Ms Hall said.
“We also sell young bulls – there’s probably more of them dead than alive,” she added.
“They’ve just obviously been walking trying to find higher ground and bogged and died there.”
‘If we need more money, you can take mine’
Ms Hall’s children, Madison, 13, and Wyatt, 11, made their mother shed “plenty of tears” on Thursday night when she saw the note from them.
“We are sorry about all of these cattle. If there is anything we can do to help, let us know,” their letter read.
“If we need more money you could take mine out of my bank and put it in yours. I could even sell some of my animals for money.”
Ms Hall said their loving note was “too nice” not to share online.
“It made me cry but I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Ms Hall told Yahoo7 News.
“I take a lot of pride in our cattle and they know that. We sell a lot of stud bulls.. it takes a long time to breed a herd up.”
Animals too exhausted to move
Ms Hall said the animals had been standing in the water and mud for about five days, and it was only on Friday that the water really began to recede.
“Their legs are heavy and encased in mud… mud up to their knees in places,” she explained.
Those stuck were unable to lie down, and after nine days without feed she said they were exhausted , could not walk and were possibly delirious.
“We had probably some of the best conditioned cattle in the country, in the district… I’d hate to think what it’d be like if you had cattle that were poor and weak.”
And after a “drought as bad as you’d get” for seven years, the losses this week have been hard to comprehend.
“It’s just gone from one extreme, completely to the other extreme… we’ve been seven years trying to keep them all alive.
“Everyone’s bank balance is pretty limited at the moment and now this.”
On Friday she and two friends, Zane Habermann and Daniel Black, spent hours, from midday through to night time, trying to get food to the animals still alive.
“You can’t move some of them. They don’t have the energy to move. Got to drop the hay to them, they then even had to show them the hay,” Ms Hall said.
Ms Hall explained they were lucky enough to have some hay left in the shed, and she is grateful their friends travelled about 1000 kilometres to help.
“They have flown from Springsure in their choppers and dropped all their work,” she said.
“If these boys did not come to help me yesterday… Seriously our cattle would have died yesterday. It’s just been too long.”
She said they are battling on, and knows there are others who are worse off.
“They’re here to help me first and foremost and then we’ll help our neighbours.”